The rules study committee announced that it would consider rules change ideas submitted via email to Charles Reid, our House Clerk.
The following ideas were submitted by me today. These are, of course, debatable:
As the rules study committee looks at ways to disperse some of the Speaker’s power to a broader number of members, I have the following suggestions:
- Term limit the Speaker and Committee Chairman concurrently. This should give rise to the Speaker actually presenting members with a legislative plan for his tenure. This would make the Speaker act more like a prime minister with a cabinet and would give a clear direction for the overall House.
- Transfer the Speaker’s ability to assign legislation to the Rules Committee and have the Rules Committee elected by the membership like the Ethics Committee (with the Speaker and Committee Chairs being non-voting ex officio members of the Rules Committee). This would allow the Rules Committee to hear input from the member who has drawn up the legislation prior to determining the bill’s committee assignment. It would also allow the creation of an appeals process if a member’s legislation is never heard by sub-committee.
- Transfer the Speaker’s ability to assign individual members to specific committees to a rotation formula based on seniority and party affiliation. This would ensure mid-level members, 3 to 4 terms, would have some chance to influence legislation in LCI and W&M. It would also provide the other committees with a better knowledge base as older members rotate back to the other 4 standing committees. One way to accomplish this would be to just have a committee assignment term limit. This whole method could be overseen by the Majority and Minority Leaders who themselves are already limited to two terms.